Why crushes never seem to amount to anything
A friend of mine once told me that if you can’t sleep at night, it’s because someone is awake thinking of you. I’m not sure that’s true (it’s probably not true), but I do think crushes can be the most amazing high in the world. You wake up every morning with someone to impress, wondering about if they’re waking up and thinking of you, too. Your days seem to have purpose—because you might see them and interact with them for five minutes.
However, on the other side of this high is the “crushing” feeling that “crushes” must be named after. Much of this comes from expectations that are never met. Crushes are usually associated with teenagers—when we choose to obsess over people we know will never like us in return—but people of all ages get them. It’s a safe way of being involved in a “relationship,” without the actual relationship part. There’s no risk, but there is also no reward.
My whole life I’ve had crushes; some more substantial than others. But they all amounted to one singular reality: nothing became of them. I grew up watching movies and television shows and reading novels in which the girl was always approached by the man of her dreams and life just worked out. As much as I love all those movies, shows, and books, they asserted for me at a young age that love would just come to you, that it wasn’t something you had to seek out.
Unfortunately, now, at the age of 22, I’m coming to terms with a lot of truths in my life, one being that you have to work for everything you get. Or at least, most people do. There are some girls out there, best friends of mine even, who guys seem to just be naturally attracted to. Neither one of my closest friends has ever had to initiate asking someone out on a date. And I have been asked out, too—but almost every time it’s been by someone that I, unfortunately, hadn’t been interested in (my crush theory works both ways, I guess). There was one guy back in high school that I had been interested in, but I was too scared to really embrace the fact that he liked me. He was four years older, and at 14, that age difference seemed massive (and it was). I guess I figured that he would expect sex right away, something I was not even remotely prepared for.
When I was 18, I finally got up the courage to ask out a guy I had liked since the beginning of high school. Of course, being the movie-obsessed girl that I am, I emulated one of my favorite movies, Secret Admirer (80s film with the aunt from Full House! Look it up). I wrote him a note, sappy and dripping with sincerity, which I sent to him via email. He replied almost instantly with a nice letdown, telling me he liked me a lot as a friend and that he was jealous of the guy who got to end up with me. I was devastated.
I went back to school the next day only to find out that he had told everyone—okay, not everyone, but our mutual friends, which is basically everyone that mattered—that I had made a fool out of myself. To quote him, “the funniest part was that she even remotely thought I could like her back.” After that, I more or less decided/accepted that I would be an old maid for life, and that I would not make another move towards a relationship and that the guy would have to initiate it. I would not withstand that rejection again.
It seems odd to me that I’ve had so many issues asking guys out. I was a pretty precocious child and a very outgoing teenager. At 22, I haven’t changed much. However, what I have realized is that having a crush is not living. It’s a nice facade, a beautiful idea, but it doesn’t amount to a thing. To live a full life, you must go after what you want; and if you’re rejected, then they weren’t the right person for you anyway. If you go through life scared of rejection, then you’ve already made your fate.
I don’t pretend to know everything at 22—I know that there are people much younger than I am who have a better understanding of life and love and can dole out much better advice. All I will say is that life is short, and finding people you truly connect with is rare. If you feel something, it’s better to act on it than to spend your life wondering whether or not they feel the same way. Maybe this memorandum of mine will give me the courage to take my own advice and ask out the guy I’m currently obsessing over, and to say to that voice in my head that asks, “Why would he like me?”—why wouldn’t he?
Lindsay Grossman is an aspiring screenwriter, who hopes to find a career in television writing and production. She spends her time complaining and obsessing over why THE NEWSROOM ended and when the next OUTLANDER episode will air.